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Excerpt from Never be Fat Again
Toxins Make You Sickùand Fatter
Toxins in our food and in our environment play an important role in our overweight epidemic by distorting the body's ability to control both appetite and weight. Common food additives such as MSG and aspartame can make us feel hungry even when we do not need food. Chemicals used in common plastics such as phthalates and bisphenyl-A, as well as PCBs and solvents, are also associated with weight gain.
Animals exposed to pesticides can experience huge weight gains without any increase in caloric intake. Domesticated animals are fed growth promoters to fatten them up, but when you eat their meat you ingest those growth promoters, and they fatten you up. Even prescription drugs, including antihistamines, antidepressants, anti-inflammatories and hormones, can cause weight gain.
The effects of toxins are magnified when poor diets deprive us of the essential nutrients that our detoxification systems need in order to remove toxins from our bodies. A major source of dietary toxins is processed junk food. Processed foods, from breakfast cereals to hot dogs to dinner helpers, are loaded with toxic artificial preservatives, colorings, and flavorings, plus nitrites, MSG, artificial sweeteners, and many other toxins. As toxins accumulate in our bodies, normal cell function is increasingly impaired, and premature aging along with health problems of every description, including overweight, result.
Fighting Fat as a Disease
All of us started life as a single cell, the smallest unit of life in the plant and animal kingdom. A mature body is made up of between 50 and 100 trillion such cells. Each cell is an individual unit of life that is part of a communityùtrillions of cells communicating and cooperating with each other. When our cells are healthy and functioning normally, the entire community functions harmoniously. When this happens, we say the body is in homeostasis, meaning that our body is in balance and able to function at its highest potential. Health is the state in which all cells are functioning optimally, communicating and cooperating with each other, and the body is self-repairing, self-regulating, and balanced. Being overweight is a diseased state where there is massive cellular malfunction resulting in injured molecules and cells, oxidized fats, cross-linked proteins, nutrient deficiencies, depleted enzymes, and metabolic chaos in general. In most cases, dieting only makes this situation worse.
No matter what name you give to a disease, the essence of disease is that a massive number of cells are no longer functioning normally; they are no longer properly communicating, self-regulating, and self-repairing. Getting well or losing weight permanently requires that this be reversed. When a person's cells are no longer operating normally, it can manifest as a common cold, the flu, polio, heart disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes, cancer, depression, or any other so-called disease, including overweight. The thousands of diseases that conventionally trained physicians categorize, diagnose and treat are truly only one disease, which takes on many different faces because there are many thousands of possible combinations of cellular deficiencies and toxicities, all acting through a unique set of genes. These combinations produce a myriad of symptoms, giving the deceptive appearance of many diseases with unknown and mysterious causes.
Deficiency, one of the two causes of disease, frequently manifests as disease in certain organs because specific tissues require higher amounts of certain nutrients, and that amount is not being supplied in the diet. For example, both the prostate gland and the retina are zinc-rich tissues, requiring more zinc than other tissues. The thyroid gland is rich in iodine and the female cervix rich in vitamin C and folate. When any nutrient is in short supply, the cells with the highest need are the first to suffer impaired function and show signs of distress. A deficiency of even one amino acid in the brain impairs thinking and behavior. The problems caused by these deficiencies create the illusion of different diseases with unknown causesùprostate enlargement, cervical cancer, thyroid impairment, mental and emotional problems, and so forth, yet all these ôdiseasesö can result from a deficiency of a single nutrient that is required in larger than normal amounts by that specific tissue.
A zinc deficiency, for example, can cause cellular malfunctions manifesting as numerous so-called diseases such as vision problems, including macular degeneration; skin problems, including acne; emotional problems; problems with attention span, learning ability, and short-term memory; enlarged prostates; immune suppression and birth defects. Each individual has unique nutritional needs, and some people have exceptionally high needs for specific nutrients. In each case it will be the ôlimiting nutrient,ö the one that is in shortest supply, that determines the symptoms and the nature of the so-called disease produced. Zinc deficiency is common and is often a limiting nutrient.
According to the USDA Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals (CSFII), zinc deficiency is a significant public health problem; 73 percent of Americans are not getting the recommended dietary need for zinc partly because modern farming methods have stripped the zinc out of our soils and therefore out of the foods. Toxicity is the other cause of disease, and mercury toxicity is another significant public health problem. Most of the mercury comes from mercury-amalgam dental fillings, vaccinations, and fish. Some of the symptoms associated with mercury toxicity are depression, anxiety, hypertension, fatigue, irregular heartbeat, osteoporosis, allergies, asthma, sinus problems, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, headaches, insomnia, and constipation. Mercury toxicity can produce asthma, depression, arthritis, high blood pressure, and osteoporosisùin the same person! That person may be seeing five different specialists who, almost certainly, never think of looking for the single cause. Rather, each specialist suppresses the different symptoms by prescribing a variety of toxic drugs.
Unfortunately, the drugs increase the patient's toxic load, add to cellular malfunction and create even more disease. Then we blithely call these new diseases ôside effects,ö so as not to alarm people that they are now sicker than before. Given the number of ôdiseasesö that can be caused by just one deficiency or toxicity, such as zinc or mercury, imagine what might happen when multiple deficiencies and toxicities are working together at the same time. Unfortunately, most Americans are in this state. We suffer from combinations of deficiencies and toxicities that throw the body into biochemical chaos, producing a multitude of symptoms that baffle our physicians and cause them to mistakenly believe there are thousands of diseases. To modern medicine, disease is just one great big mystery!
Modern medicine embraces the idea that exposure to microorganisms will result in sickness. This is a myth. In order for infection to occur, your cells must already be malfunctioning and your immune system compromised. If this were not the case, everyone who is exposed to a particular pathogen would become sick. We know this does not happen. An allergic reaction, eating sugar, a deficiency of vitamin C or zinc, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, stress, and many other factors impair immunity and allow you to become infected.
You didn't ôcatchö that cold; you gave it to yourself by compromising your immunity. Healthy cells keep our immunity strong and hold infections at bay. Because they were healthy, people like the Hunzas lived to an average age of 120, without suffering as much as a cold. You are not a powerless victim! Because of the way we have been programmed to think about disease, this is probably a startling new thought. Fortunately, cells have the ability to heal and repair, and the body is constantly replacing old, damaged cells with new ones. About 90 percent are replaced each year, so almost any disease, including overweight, can be reversed. The cells in the lining of our stomach are replaced every 2 days, liver and skin cells every 90 days, and blood cells every 120 days. If you are overweight or sick, the way to restore normal weight and health is to replace old, sick cells with healthy new cells. Once you understand this simple yet revolutionary concept, you literally have the power to rebuild your body and prevent and reverse almost all disease.
Are You Headed Toward Health or Premature Death?
Moving in the wrong direction toward cellular malfunction and weight gain can happen so slowly that we don't notice at first. The decline begins with a small number of cells malfunctioning, and slowly the number of unhealthy cells increases. By the time a disease is diagnosable, you have most likely been sick for a long time. Consider:
ò Disease does not just randomly ôhappen,ö as many think.
ò Overweight and other health problems are not inevitable results of aging.
ò Health, not disease, is our natural state.
ò Normal weight is the inevitable result of good health.
Our health is constantly changing along a continuum, varying as a result of the choices we make. Optimal health is at one end of the continuum, always accompanied by healthy weight. Death is at the other end, often accompanied by excess weight. Very few Americans are even close to the optimal health end of the continuum. Between optimal health and death is pathology or diagnosable disease. Unfortunately, more than three out of four Americans have a diagnosable disease. Pathology is the point at which health has been seriously compromised, and cellular malfunction is occurring on such a large scale that the symptoms of a medically diagnosable disease are present. As the body becomes increasingly impaired by toxins and depleted of nutrient reserves, cellular damage begins to exceed daily repairs, and the body starts to age and fall apart. The body becomes less able to respond to new challenges, whether a pregnancy, a night out on the town, a long trip, a stressful experience, or exposure to toxic chemicals and infectious microorganisms. With reduced reserves, each new stress throws the system further out of balance. Finally, death is the state where all cells have ceased to function.
The Health and Performance Continuum
Happily, your position on this continuum is not permanent. No matter how old or overweight you are, changing your direction is possible. We have personally witnessed miraculous turnarounds in individuals in their nineties, and even among advanced-stage cancer patients who initially appeared to be beyond hope. The human body is incredibly self-healing when we give it high-quality nutrition and stop giving it deadly toxins. A lot of people we talk to mistakenly think they eat a good diet, even if it isn't perfect. What most people think of as a ôgood dietö will not prevent disease or restore health. Only a diet rich in nutrient-packed plant foods, along with high quality supplements for insurance, supplies cells with the required raw materials to make all the necessary proteins, hormones, neurotransmitters, enzymes, antioxidants, and other chemicals they must have to solve our disease and weight problems and keep healthy.
Human health, and where you are and in what direction you are moving on the Health and Performance Continuum depends on the complex interaction of many factors. To help you understand and address these factors in a meaningful way, we offer the Six Pathways as weapons for you to employ in fighting fat.